Clumsy Photos in SmartArt Graphics? – Frustration solved!

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Inserting Photos in SmartArt is frustrating. Discover a simple way to overcome this common frustration.

Why inserting photos in SmartArt Graphics causes frustration?

Here is a slide with full page image:

Full page image

When you insert the same image in a SmartArt Layout, see the result:

Photo in Smartart Layout

The image loses its relevance and you feel frustrated.

Does that mean you should avoid using images in Smart Art?

The answer is – NO. Let me tell you why…

Understanding the purpose of Images:

First off, inserting a picture in a Smart Art layout and inserting a full page image on a slide serve two very different purposes.

Here is when you use ‘full page photos’on your slides:

  • In a keynote presentation, you want your images to convey emotions. You want your audience to ‘connect’ with your pictures. Full page photos achieve that beautifully
  • In a technical presentation, you want your photos to show ‘details’. Using ‘full page’ allows you enough space to show details clearly

Here is when you use images in SmartArt layouts:

  • You want your audience to recollect what you mentioned in your previous slides. So, you use the small images in a SmartArt layout to cue them
  • You want to add a visual support to the facts mentioned on your slide. So, you use small images in a diagram to ‘convey the context’

When you clearly understand the difference in purpose, your frustration begins to reduce. Now, coming to the…

Technical aspect of ‘inserting pictures the right way’in SmartArt diagrams:

Most of the issues with inserting pictures can be summed up as follows:

Inserting Pictures

The tool tends to rationalize your photos and present a small glimpse of the ‘big picture’ to your audience. That is why…

  • Focusing on the right parts of your photos in smartart graphics gets tricky
  • SmartArt images are too small to capture a long shot view
  • Large, full bleed photos are difficult to handle in the tiny window offered by the layout

Related: Showcase Product Images in PowerPoint

What is the way out?

Here is a simple solution to get the result you want:

Step 1:

Start with a full view of the picture you want to show in SmartArt diagram. Avoid photos bleeding in the edges if possible:

Original Photo

Step 2:

Using ‘Oval’ tool in the Auto shapes menu, draw a circle with ‘no fill’, around the area you want to focus on. In this example, let us assume that we want to focus on the light house.

Focus in Part of Image

Step 3:

Crop the area around the circle:

Cropped Photo

Right click on the photo and use ‘Save as Picture’ option to save it on desktop.

Related: PowerPoint Picture layering technique

Step 4:

In your layout, insert the picture you saved on the desktop. See the difference in the end result in the photos in Smartart graphics:

Photos in Smartart graphics

Follow these simple steps every time you want to use a SmartArt layout with images. You would never feel frustrated again.

More options for business presenters:

If you are business presenter, you would have realized by now, that SmartArt is not always the fastest way to get professional results you want for your slides. Moreover, SmartArt doesn’t provide you with enough options to visualize all your business ideas clearly.

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Animated List of 3 Points with Image

3 Point List CEO Pack GIF

Image with List of Points Highlighted one at a time

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Related: Discover 3 Hidden SmartArt Capabilities

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